Monday, December 3, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ Death Certificate for James M. Adsit

An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin – some we never met – others we see a time in their life before we knew them.

Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922 (index and images, FamilySearch,, from Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois, accessed May 2011),, James M. Adsit, died 4 Sep 1894. Citing Death Records, FHL microfilm 1,030,999.

The handwritten entries are in blue; my comments are [bracketed]:
Physician's Certificate of Death-Issued by State Board of Health
State of Illinois, Cook County
The Physician who attended any person in a last illness should immediately return this Certificate, accurately filled out, to the County Clerk, if the party deceased died outside the limits of the City of Chicago; all deaths inside the city limits should be returned on these blanks to the
City Board of Health

  1. Name: James M. Adsit
  2. Sex: M    Color: W
  3. Age: 85 years 6 months 30 days  [Calculated birth date is February 5, 1809]
  4. Occupation: Banker
  5. Date of Death: Sept. 4th 2:30 AM 94  [1894]
  6. Married
  7. Nationality and place where born: Spencertown, N.Y.  American  [In Columbia County, N.Y.]
  8. How long resident in this State: 56 years
  9. Place of Death: 400 Dearborn Ave St.  24 Ward
  10. Cause of death: Cerebral Hemorrhage  [no entry under Complications]
  11. Duration of disease: About 8 days
  12. Place of Burial: Graceland
  13. Name of Undertaker: C. H. Jordan + Co.
  14. Dated at Chicago Sept 4th 1894.  (Signature:) Frank Billings M.D.
                                                               Residence:  45-22nd St.

1894 Chicago Directory, p. 228;

I like to confirm the signature by looking up the physician's name in the city directory.

See his wife's death certificate here.

See a brief biography of James M. Adsit, First Chicago Banker, published in 1899 here.

I am descended from James M. Adsit as follows:

James Monroe Adsit
Charles Chapin Adsit
Elizabeth Adsit
Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr.


  1. Elizabeth, I read this with interest because my gg grandfather died in Evanston, Cook Co. in 1894. I have looked and looked, and requested twice for his death certificate. Not to be found. With your post, I tried again, still nothing. He was probably one of the more well-known people in that town and Chicago...and it's so irritating not to have it! Glad you've got yours.

    1. How unusual not to be able to find an 1894 death certificate in Cook County if you're sure he died there. Could he have been indexed under a different name? See the link to James M. Adsit's wife's death certificate to see how she was indexed. I can't remember how I found her death certificate with the misreading of her name in the index.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.